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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | New York Shuffle: Alfredo de Villa's: "Adrift in Manhattan"

    The intersecting lives that amble throughout "Adrift in Manhattan," director Alfredo de Villa's good-natured but forgettable New York street life drama include a young Latino named Simon (Victor Rasuk) who snaps photographs of just about everyone he meets. One person in particular captures his attention. Rose (Heather Graham), an eye doctor, first appears on a Manhattan park bench wearing a pretty scarf that contrasts with her sour facial expression. Rose is separated from her husband Mark (William Baldwin) for reasons described in a flashback involving their infant son late into the movie. By the time Rose and Simon meet face-to-face, in an ...

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | Survivors' Tales: Steven Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain"

    World War II events as infamous as the attack of Pearl Harbor are Aug, 6 and 9, 1945; the days the United States dropped atom bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings not only ended the War in the Pacific but pushed mankind into the nuclear age. How to tackle a story this humong...

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | The President's Analyst: Charles Ferguson's "No End in Sight"

    An acquaintance working at a conservative daily newspaper used to tell me that when President Bill Clinton was in office, they had a corporate mandate to choose the worst possible photos whenever running a story about him. The point was to make Clinton look like a fool. Filmmaker Charles Ferguson mu...

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    PARK CITY '07 | "Padre Nuestro" and "Manda Bala" Win Top Prizes at Sundance '07

    A pair of Latin American stories won the top prizes at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, which will close tomorrow night here in Park City, UT. Christopher Zalla's "Padre Nuestro," a Spanish-language immigrant drama set in New York City was awarded the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, and Jason Kohn's "Manda Bala" ("Send a Bullet"), a profile of lives in Brazil, won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize (along with the cinematography prize), capping the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Also receiving accolades at the packed ceremony inside the Park City Racquet Club tonight were Eva Mulvad and Anja Al Erhayem's "Enemies of Happiness," winners of the Document...

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    "Dark Matter" Wins Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance

    The 2007 Sundance Film Festival has announced that "Dark Matter" is this year's recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. The film was directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and written by Billy Shebar. The prize carries a $20,000 award to a feature film focusing on science as a theme, or that has a scientist or mathematician as a major character. The prize is part of Sundance Institute's Science-in-Film initiative, and is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Dark Matter" was inspired by a true story and portrays the world of a young and passionate Chinese student who comes to America to study the origins of the universe, only to ...

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    Park City '07 SHORTS NOTEBOOK | Create Your Own Shorts Playlist: Over Forty Sundance Films are Just

    Time Magazine's recent selection of "You" as the "Person of the Year" was spot-on. This year, the short film programmers at the Sundance Film Festival officially ceded control to you, the viewer. Before the festival began, the programming professionals spent months carefully considering what short should play before which feature, and how best to bundle the shorts-only programs. But now with more than half of the 71 official selections streaming for free on the festival's website, it's your turn to choose what you want to see and when you want to see it. For those who might feel overwhelmed by the extensive a la carte menu available online, h...

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | Killing Fields: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's "Nanking"

    Images of grisly murders and mass graves, war-orphaned children, and refugees in rags, should, it seems, be difficult for people of conscience to turn away from. Yet, the truth is people of conscience do it every day. From Rwanda to Sudan to Iraq, it's been made painfully clear that there's no ceili...

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | Video Nerds Rule!: Lincoln Ruchti's "Chasing Ghosts"

    A strong subject, the birth and stratospheric rise of the video gaming industry, and fascinating, quirky characters - in this case the young male gamers who became video arcade superstars - are the rock solid foundation for director Lincoln Ruchti's likable documentary "Chasing Ghosts." The fact that "Chasing Ghost's" beeps, buzzes and computer graphics have homespun origins adds to the film's appeal. Granted, Ruchti and his crew, cinematographer Lisa Wiegand and editor Eddie Brega (Ruchti also assisted in editing) tell their gaming tale in surprisingly straightforward fashion. One expects this sort of documentary to be a little more eye-popp...

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    PARK CITY '07 REVIEW | Being JJ Lask: "On the Road with Judas" Takes Narcissistic Meta Trip

    Is a self-indulgent, self-referential movie any less annoying if it unabashedly acknowledges its self-indulgence and self-referentiality? That's one of the central questions posited by "On the Road with Judas," a slick, boy-meets-girl meta-movie that takes its inspirations from Charlie Kaufman and W...

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    At Sundance, "Hounddog" Director Wins VW from Fest Sponsor, a Bad Review from NY Times

    The festival's official awards ceremony is still hours away as we post this link, but as The Reeler notes, "Hounddog" director Deborah Kampmeier has already received the VW Relentless Drive Award from Sundance's official vehicle sponsor. The prize includes a new car and is touted in a full page ad on the back of the festival's official daily newspaper. Meanwhile, the film has stirred audiences all week, and been subjected to a number of negative reviews. Among the harshest comes in the latest festival dispatch from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times: As sincere as it is stupid, "Hounddog" is pure art-house exploitation, as evidenced by the ...

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